For the second consecutive day, the Tampa Bay Rays fell behind the opposing ball club before their first at-bat, this time in a 4-1 losing bid to the Mariners on Monday. It was also the third straight loss for AL East leading Rays, whose lead over the second place Yankees was cut to a half game in the division.
Sunday’s 7-6 — game 162 — victory can be summed up in five words: A tale of two halves. Tampa Bay charged out the gate, tagging a pair of pitchers (Todd Redmond and Neil Wagner) for six runs in the first inning, but almost, predictably, blew it in the late innings. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — a win is a win is a win. However, this win was bittersweet. The pitching and offense looked dominant in the front five, yet they didn’t resemble a playoff team in the bottom four. Be it as it may, the Rays will head to Texas Monday for a one game tie-breaker, ahead of the AL Wildcard game Wednesday, in Cleveland. A few game peripherals are below.
It was a long night — the first of ten. I woke up this morning with a sickening feeling in my gut — and to be honest, I’m not certain if it had more to do with the booze I steadily consumed for six or so hours yesterday, or the Rays 4-3 loss to the A’s. Perhaps it was the unholy combination of both. Whatever the case, both happened, and both left me feeling empty. Adding insult to injury, Tampa Bay fell three-and-a-half games behind Boston in the AL East, and a half game behind Oakland for the first wild card slot. Bright side: The Rays have two more games against the A’s today and tomorrow.
To put it bluntly, after the 11-1 debacle against the Royals Monday, and the subsequent demotion of Jeremy Hellickson today, Tampa Bay really needed a big performance out of Roberto Hernandez Tuesday night. And with the exceptions of a Mike Trout blast in the fourth, and an unlucky break in the seventh, a solid performance they got. Sadly, Hernandez’s best outing in some time went to waste after Fernando Rodney let another save slip away in the 6-5 loss to The The Angels Angels of Anaheim. The Rays start the day two-and-a-half games behind the Red Sox after Boston crushed the Orioles by a score of 13-2.
For the ninth time this season, the Rays won in dramatic fashion, with catcher Jose Lobaton hitting the game winning one out RBI triple up the right field line. The icing on the cake? New York crushed Boston, allowing Tampa Bay to gain a game on the Red Sox, putting the Rays just a game out of first place in the AL East. The Rays 5-4 walk-off win was the second of the week.